Knowledge of the complex 3D architecture of cells and tissues in their native context is essential in order to understand biological structure–function relationships. Thermo Fisher Scientific offers a novel serial block-face imaging (SBFI) solution with excellent Z-resolution that combines multi-energy deconvolution scanning electron microscopy (MED-SEM) with in situ sectioning. Automation and ease-of-use increase your productivity regardless of your level of expertise, granting isotropic resolution for your large volume samples.

Until now, the axial resolution in serial block-face imaging was limited by the minimal section thickness that can be physically cut with an in-chamber microtome. However, through the addition of multi-energy deconvolution SEM (MED-SEM), our novel large volume analysis method now enables imaging with truly isotropic 3D resolution. Mechanical and optical sectioning are combined; data is acquired from multiple layers of the sample through the application of different beam energies between physical cuts. Optimized detectors and low-vacuum operation ensure high-quality imaging. Additionally, acquisition software provides automation of processes ranging from low-level setup and alignment to walkaway acquisition of a complete image series. This approach includes a complete workflow from initial setup to final results, providing software solutions for large area/volume analysis, light microscopy image overlay, reconstruction, visualization and segmentation.

Isotropic 3D data from large sample volumes with serial block-face imaging or FIB milling
Isotropic 3D data from large sample volumes with serial block-face imaging or FIB milling.
Zebrafish embryo head imaged with large volume analysis.
Zebrafish embryo head imaged with large volume analysis.
Electron Microscopy

Serial Block Face Imaging: Cell and Tissue Structure at Molecular Resolution

Isotropic 3D data from large sample volumes with serial block-face imaging or FIB milling.

Mouse retina imaged with large volume analysis. Dimensions: 9.65 x 10 x 25 µm; 10 nm isotropic resolution in HiVac mode; 1.18/1.78/2.27 kV, 100 pA; 1 µs dwell time; 250 images.

Zebrafish embryo head imaged with large volume analysis. Dimensions: 350 x 350 x 82.9 µm. 42 x 42 nm pixels in LoVac mode, 2 kV, 100 pA, 3 µs dwell time, 829 images at 100 nm. Sample courtesy of Robbert Creton, Brown University.

Rat Brain: Volume 85 x 85 x 123 um; 2.7 kV, 400pA, 2 us dwell time, 15 nm x 15nm x40 nm, 2133 images in LoVac. Sample courtesy of Grahame Knott, EPFL Lausanne. Data segmentation and visualization by Thermo Scientific Amira Software.

How it works

Mouse retina imaged with large volume analysis. Dimensions: 9.65 x 10 x 25 µm; 10 nm isotropic resolution in HiVac mode; 1.18/1.78/2.27 kV, 100 pA; 1 µs dwell time; 250 images.

Zebrafish embryo head imaged with large volume analysis. Dimensions: 350 x 350 x 82.9 µm. 42 x 42 nm pixels in LoVac mode, 2 kV, 100 pA, 3 µs dwell time, 829 images at 100 nm. Sample courtesy of Robbert Creton, Brown University.

Rat Brain: Volume 85 x 85 x 123 um; 2.7 kV, 400pA, 2 us dwell time, 15 nm x 15nm x40 nm, 2133 images in LoVac. Sample courtesy of Grahame Knott, EPFL Lausanne. Data segmentation and visualization by Thermo Scientific Amira Software.

How it works

Applications

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Pathology Research
 

Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) is used when the nature of the disease cannot be established via alternative methods. With nano-biological imaging, TEM provides accurate and reliable insight for certain pathologies.

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Plant Biology Research
 

Fundamental plant biology research is enabled by cryo electron microscopy, which provides information on proteins (with single particle analysis), to their cellular context (with tomography), all the way up to the overall structure of the plant (large volume analysis).


Products

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VolumeScope 2 SEM

  • Isotropic 3D data from large volumes
  • High contrast and resolution in high and low vacuum modes
  • Simple switch between normal SEM use and serial block-face imaging

Amira Software for Life Sciences

  • Import and process image data
  • Auto-segmentation, object separation, labeling
  • Analyze and quantify with automated statistics
  • Create images, animations and videos

Maps Software

  • Acquire high resolution images over large areas
  • Easily find regions of interest
  • Automate image acquisition process
  • Correlate data from different sources
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Electron microscopy services for
the life sciences

To ensure optimal system performance, we provide you access to a world-class network of field service experts, technical support, and certified spare parts.

Learn more ›